Results tagged ‘ Wilson Valdez ’

Homers Hurt Hamels; Offense Cannot Bail Him Out

In two out of three games in this Braves series, the Phillies bats left their pitchers hanging.  They did not score at all for Cliff Lee on Friday.  On Sunday, they got some hits for Cole Hamels, but only two runs.

 

The 12 hits from the Phils offense was certainly better than two on Friday.  However, the hits were not timely and caused little damage.  Here is just one frustrating example.  Wilson Valdez smacked a two-out double in the second inning with no one on base.  Later in the sixth, with runners at the corners and one out, Valdez hit a weak ground ball for an inning-ending double play, leaving a runner stranded on third.

Hitting without clutch hitting is practically useless, especially in a close game.

And Hamels really could have used some clutch hitting.  He went seven innings, striking out nine batters, but allowed three runs on two homers.  Still, it was a quality start and one that he should expect to win.

 

The youngsters in the bullpen did not help the situation either, which is the opposite of what happened in Saturday’s win.  Michael Stutes entered the game not having surrendered a run in 6.1 innings this year.  But in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday, he walked two batters and allowed a two-run homer.

Stutes looked like he had never even heard of a strike zone.  He was that far off, throwing only two strikes to three batters.  This was also the first time the Phillies used him in back-to-back games.  You can be sure they will not do that again anytime soon.

 

As for Scott Mathieson, he took over for Stutes and gave up a hit, but exited the inning unscathed.  But then to start the ninth, Mathieson began to unravel.  After a hit, a sac bunt and two walks on five pitches each, Danys Baez was brought in to bail Mathieson out.

When your savior for the night is Danys Baez, you know you are having a very bad day.  Baez has been unreliable at best since last season, but on Sunday night he was able to coax an inning ending double play.

I will say this for Baez; he is always great with the fans and a very nice guy.  Last night, he was headed to the clubhouse after warm-ups and an elderly lady next to me over the dugout asked him to sign a ball.  Most players are in full-out game concentration mode at this point and do not stop.  But Baez smiled, had her toss the ball over the dugout and he signed it for her and even waved to everyone standing there.

So with no ninth inning rally in sight, the Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 5-2 and lost the series 2-1.  Heading to Miami tonight, first place in the division is on the line for this series as the Marlins are only two games back now.

Joe Blanton is back on the roster and will pitch tonight at 7:10pm.  Carlos Ruiz was put on the DL yesterday, so no one had to be bumped to add Blanton back.  The DL move was backdated to 4/28, so Ruiz could return in about five days or so if his back is feeling better.

Also, Sunday was the Phillies annual Mother’s Day celebration where a players has his mother flown in for the weekend at the Phillies’ expense to spend time with their son and see him play.  A different player is chosen each year, although there were two in 2010.  I have attended these particular games every year since 2006 so here is a photo gallery of all six years with the player, mom and sometimes other family members as well.  The only person I cannot remember is who is in the 2006 photo.  I think it is Jon Lieber, but I am not sure.  If you know, please let me know :O)

 

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Offense Shows Signs Of Life In Final Game of Road Trip

The Phillies were finally able to salvage a win out of the 3-game series with the Diamondbacks today.  Cole Hamels allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in the 8-4 victory.

But the real news was the offense, which finally showed signs of life after scoring only 17 runs in the first six games of this road trip.

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Not surprisingly, Placido Polanco continued his hot streak, going 4-for-4 in the game today and scoring three times.  Polly has been the only player unaffected by this hitting slump.

Jimmy Rollins had his first multi-hit game since April 12th with an RBI-double and a 2-run homer.  Shane Victorino also had two hits and both he and Ryan Howard homered in the game as well.

But while most starters were productive, Wilson Valdez still looks like he has no clue at all at the plate, swinging at anything within nearly a 10-mile radius.  Raul Ibanez did not start and was 0-1 in a pinch hitting appearance.  In his place, John Mayberry Jr. had one hit and two walks.

The Phils got off to a fast start, putting up three runs in the first inning.  But then catcher Carlos Ruiz suddenly disappeared and Brian Schneider was brought in to catch in the bottom half of the first inning.  Later, it was reported that Ruiz had lower back discomfort.

So are the Phillies playing some weird, made-up game?  We can call it Pass The Problem.  Roy Oswalt maybe passed on his back pain to Ruiz?  And maybe Brad Lidge passed on his arm/shoulder/elbow pain to Jose Contreras?  Whatever it is, it need to stop!

As for Oswalt, he left the team today to head home to Mississippi where a tornado landed close to his home.  Last year, Oswalt’s parents had their home destroyed by a tornado.  So now, he is understandably concerned about his wife and kids who are near the disaster zone.  Hopefully, his family is fine.  There is no additional word yet on the situation.

There has also not been any news about whether Ruiz is seriously hurt or not.  I will keep you posted.

As for the rest of the team, they have a day off tomorrow before beginning the home stand against the Mets on Friday night at 7:05pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Phillies Win Third In A Row Against Padres In Extras

After not allowing a single run to the Padres in two straight games, the Phillies finally yielded on Saturday night in the first inning.  Joe Blanton got roughed up quickly.  On his first three pitches of the game, he allowed a single and an RBI triple to break the Padres scoreless streak.

But after getting out of the early jam, Blanton settled down and actually pitched very well.  In seven innings, he allowed just two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Blanton finally lowered his ERA below six; it sits at 5.92 right now and hopefully, will get better as the season progresses.

Placido Polanco got the day off at third base, which seemed like an odd choice considering he is the only Phillie really hitting right now.  Wilson Valdez took third and Pete Orr filled in at second.  Both players had one hit each, but overall, the offense suffered again.

Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco accounted for the Phillies two runs.  After Rollins walked in the fourth, Francisco tripled to score him.  Then in the sixth, Rollins singled to score Orr who had doubled before him.


Orrs Oars.jpgJust a quick side note, I noticed last week that Orr already has a fan club, Orr’s Oars.  A group of fans have been wielding boat oars in the outfield in Orr’s honor.  Also interesting to note, Orr’s cousin, Nick Boynton, plays for the Flyers.

And yes, that is how sad the offense was in this game.  I was so bored, I made a hockey reference.

Here are just a few examples of the Phillies offensive woes:  Raul Ibanez has not had a hit in 17 at-bats.  Frankly, I think John Mayberry Jr. should get some playing time until Ibanez figures it out.  And Rollins is batting .120 in his last seven games.

The Padres have similar issues and as such, neither team looked good on offense.  That led to extra innings after both teams were unable to score again in a 2-2 tie game.  This would become a battle of the bullpens.

As it turned out, the Phillies bullpen came out on top thanks to an RBI-single by Howard in the 11th.  That hit was huge for Howard as he had struck out in each of his previous four at-bats.  The two runs that scored gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead which Ryan Madson held down for his second save in a row.

The Phillies are up 3-0 in the series with the final game today at 4:05pm.

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Salvage A Game Against The Brewers

The Phillies avoided a sweep at the hands of the Brewers this afternoon with a 4-3 win.  The 2-1 series loss was the first series loss of their season.


P4178730CC.jpgThe Phils offense went 17 straight innings in this series without scoring a run.  John Mayberry Jr. got the first hit of the game, but that did not happen until the 5th inning.  Then finally in the sixth, Wilson Valdez (photo) drew a walk and Shane Victorino singled.  Placido Polanco then smacked his second homer of the week to tie the game up at 3-3.

Cliff Lee had a slightly off day, although he kept the team in the game.  Through six innings, Lee allowed two earned runs on eight hits and a walk.  The third run was the result of a Valdez error.

Valdez made up for the error in the ninth, after a Victorino homer gave the Phillies the lead the inning before.  Valdez ran backwards after a fly ball that was over his head, reached out and snagged the ball.  That play saved closer Jose Contreras from a very difficult inning.  Contreras then struck out Ryan Braun to end the game.

The Phillies now travel to the West coast for a 4-game series with the Padres.  Thursday’s game starts at 10:05pm and Roy Oswalt, feeling better since having back issues, will pitch.  Phillies fans, prepare for some late nights in the coming week.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Phillies Bats Eaten Up By Wolf

In a week full of opposites, Roy Halladay had a bad game against the Brewers.  The night before Joe Blanton had a good game and in both games, the offense did not show up.  The Phillies are currently in some sort of cruel and unusual time warp where nothing is as it should be.


Wolf bat.jpgAdding to the horror was Brewer’s pitcher and former Phillie, Randy Wolf, who literally chewed up and spit out Phillies batters.  Wolf allowed only two hits over six innings.

To their credit, the Brewers defense stole a few hits from the Phillies with running grabs in the outfield.  Those balls looked like they were far out of reach, but the Brewers ran them down.

The Phillies did not look like themselves at all.  Carlos Ruiz threw away a ground ball that should have been an out; Ryan Howard missed a grounder at first; and then the bullpen handed the Brewers a bunch of runs in a game that was already out of control.

As Halladay was pulled in a 4-0 game, David Herndon threw two pitches and gave up a 3-run homer.  Mike Zagurski, recalled from AAA to take JC Romero’s spot on the roster, also did some damage.  He walked the first batter he saw and then allowed a 2-run single.  Both run were charged to Herndon and all that happened with two outs in the inning.  The score was 9-0 after that seventh inning.

As a side note, Zagurski has been recalled from AAA a number of times over the years in both 2007 and 2010, after multiple injuries and surgeries.  His lifetime ERA in the Bigs through 2010 is 6.99.  In other words, he does well in the minors and implodes in the majors.  It has happened every time and Tuesday night was no different.  Although, the runs he allowed will not be charged to him, he still failed to hold the score down and give the Phils a chance to come back.

The Phillies offense is now officially a major problem.  They went through these super-slumps all last year, which eventually resulted in the firing of hitting coach Milt Thompson.  Like a bad case of deja vu, here we go again.

In fact, the Phillies lead hitter with runners in scoring position is currently Wilson Valdez.  Not Ryan Howard, not Jimmy Rollins or even Raul IbanezWilson Valdez, going into today’s game was batting .556 with RISP.  Howard is at .286, Rollins is .188…you get the picture.  No offense to Valdez who is a very solid player, but if he is the team leader in hits with RISP, there is a serious problem.

The Phillies have one shot left at a win over the Brew Crew tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch and hopefully, the offense will show up for him.

Phillies Win Fourth Consecutive Series With Win Over Nats

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee needed a solid bounce-back game tonight after his last start was a small disaster.  Against the Nationals in the third game of the series, Lee did more than bounce back.  He pretty much destroyed the Nats line-up, one batter at a time.


Game 2 July 31 (28).jpgOver nine innings in a complete game, Lee allowed only three hits, no runs, 1 walk and struck out 12 batters.  The Nats bats looked baffled at the plate.  At this rate, teams may have to start a support group soon for players who are totally humiliated by this Phillies pitching staff.  They can call it C.R.A.P.P, Cannot Rally Against Phillies Pitching.

Lee’s competition, Jordan Zimmerman, kept up with Lee through five innings.  He had a no-hitter going until the sixth when Carlos Ruiz smashed a home run to left.  With one swing, the no-hitter was gone and Phillies took a 1-0 lead.  Shane Victorino scored later that same inning on a Placido Polanco single.

Zimmerman was pulled in the eighth after both Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez singled and Lee reached on an error to load the bases.  A ground out followed by a Jimmy Rollins single scored two more runs, increasing the Phillies lead to 4-0.

The Nats, in a four-run hole in the bottom of the ninth, attempted a comeback with a lead-off single.  But Lee shut them down.  Our old buddy Jayson Werth made the last out, which was the icing on the cake.

The win tonight means the Phillies have taken two out of three games in D.C. this week.  This marks their fourth consecutive series win to start the season.  It also marked the first time the Phillies had back-to-back complete games since May of 1999.

The Phils go back home to face the Marlins tomorrow.  Roy Oswalt will pitch and game time is 7:05pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Great Home Stand Ends With Series Win Over Mets

The Phillies beat the Mets today by a score of 11-0 to win the series two games to one.  Roy Halladay was his usual, spectacular self as he shut down the opposition.  Halladay went seven innings without allowing a run on six hits and his first walk issued for the season.

The offense went back to work, pounding Mets pitching mercilessly.  Every Phillies starter had a hit, including Halladay.  Wilson Valdez led the team with four hits and three RBI.  Placido Polanco had three RBI on two hits and Raul Ibanez smacked his first homer of the year, a two-run shot in the seventh.

The Phillies finish their first home stand of the year with a 5-1 record, scoring 43 runs in the process.  Overall, the start of 2011 has been a great success for the Phillies.  Here are some of the most encouraging signs:

The Offense: Those 43 runs in six games are a very big deal for a team whose offensive potential looked grim to some in the absence of both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth, who is now with the Nationals.

The runs have not been the only good news.  The way they scored those runs is also impressive.  Normally known as a home-run led offense, the Phillies have learned how to run the bases and play small ball, going station to station with a more patient approach at the plate.

The homers are still there, but have not played as prominent a role as they have in years past.  In other words, the Phillies can score runs without the big bangs.


P40380030403.jpgRyan Howard and Jimmy Rollins Off To A Good Start
: Normally a slow-starter in April, Ryan Howard’s big bat has made an early entrance in 2011.

Over all six games, Howard has collected 12 hits, including three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI.  On Wednesday night against the Mets, Howard went four for four at the plate.  He is now batting .480.

If the All-Star first baseman can keep up this pace, he is going to strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers all year long.

As for Rollins, he had a very rough 2010 that was plagued with injuries.  But he is off to a good start in 2011, which is also a contract year for him.

Batting .375 in the three-hole so far, Rollins may be back to the J-Roll of old.


P40379440403.jpgWilson Valdez Is Up To The Task
: When Chase Utley reported major knee injuries this spring training, the fan base let out a collective sigh of disappointment.  The perennial All-Star is one of leaders on this team and probably their best overall hitter.

But Wilson Valdez, coming off a season where he got a lot of playing time due to injuries, is ready to fill the void.

Hitting .429 through six games and five starts, Valdez tried to imitate Ryan Howard on Thursday afternoon, going four for four with three RBI.  With nine hits and five RBI in his five starts, Valdez has more than adequately filled the Utley void.

And his defense is probably a slight upgrade over Utley.  Valdez has a cannon for an arm and now, his bat is on fire too.

Starting Pitching:  Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt all gave solid performances this week, as expected.  Halladay has pitched twice and was even better in his second start.

As for Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, their first starts did not go quite as well.  But three out of five is not bad.

However, no one should panic about either Hamels or Blanton.  Hamels is a notoriously slow starter.  Clearly, the California kid does not like chilly weather.  His lifetime ERA in April is 4.45.  In 2010, Hamels posted a 5.28 ERA in April.

Blanton has similar issues.  So both pitchers should get better as the season progresses. 

But these five guys are going to be something very special.

The Bullpen:  Once thought to be the Achilles heel of this Phillies team, the bullpen has really stepped up their game this year.

Danys Baez has been great after being a total nightmare in 2010.  Youngster Antonio Bastardo has matured and also looks very sharp.  And J.C. Romero appears to have made the necessary adjustments to his game that were needed after he had issues in 2010 following elbow surgery.

With Brad Lidge gone and probably not returning until after the All-Star break, there are concerns about the back end of the pen, too.  But both Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras are on the ball so far.  Contreras collected his first save on Wednesday night and neither pitcher has allowed a run yet.

The pen is ready for the season!

Werth Who? : Ben Francisco is quickly making Phillies fans forget all about Jayson Werth and his exorbitant $129 million pay check with the Nationals.

Batting .320, Francisco has eight hits, five RBI and two home runs so far.  He might have a few more bombs if not for the cold, windy conditions in Philly right now.  Francisco has hit the ball very, very hard in nearly every at-bat.

His defense has been good as well.  Giving himself up for the team, Francisco smashed into the right field wall, back first on Sunday to catch a very long fly ball.  He hit it so hard, part of the out of town scoreboard was knocked loose.

Francisco’s effort and right-handed power are exactly what the Phillies need in their starting right fielder.

The Phillies are off on their first road trip of the season.  They take on the Braves in Atlanta tomorrow with Cliff Lee pitching.  Game time is 7:35pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Hamels Blows First Start of Season


P8198649 Hamels egg.jpgIt seems that Easter came early for the Phillies tonight as Cole Hamels laid an egg on the field.  To be fair, the Phillies offense did no better.  Hold your breath; this one is stinky.

Hamels got into trouble right away, but the first two innings, he worked out of it.  Then came a disastrous third inning which began with a hit from the opposing pitcher.  Oddly enough, Hamels’ outing ended the exact same way in the exact same inning.

The Mets batted around, scoring six earned runs on seven hits and two walks.  With two outs and the pitcher coming up, again, it looked like Hamels might get out of the inning.  But once again, pitcher Chris Young singled, this time for an RBI.

Young was not done yet either.  Hamels was pulled after 2.2 innings and a frightening 20.25 ERA in his first start of 2011.  But at least Kyle Kendrick tried to make Hamels feel better; he too, gave up a hit to Young.

As for the Phillies offense, the best that can be said is at least they did not get shut-out.  That was thanks to a Wilson Valdez single followed by a Michael Martinez walk and a Placido Polanco RBI-double.

But everything that could go wrong did.  Ryan Howard grounded out with two outs and the bases loaded.  Valdez ended the sixth inning with an old habit that no one missed, hitting into a double play.

And so the Phillies went on to lose the first of this three game series with the Mets by a score of 7-1.  Joe Blanton will pitch tomorrow and try to avoid laying an egg.  Game time is 7:05pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Walk-Off Win For Phillies Opening Day

Happy Opening Day!  And what an unusual Opening Day it was for the Phillies.

 

 

040111 OD.jpg

The Phillies sent Roy Halladay to the mound to face ex-Phillie Brett Myers of the Astros.  What initially looked like it might be a bad day despite great pitching, the Phillies pulled out a win in walk-off fashion to open the 2011 season.

 

 

040111 pitching.jpg

The first hit off Halladay came off the bat of Myers.  And from there, more drama ensued.  In fact, Myers wound up with two of the five hits Halladay allowed through six innings.  Myers allowed only three hits and one earned run through seven innings.

But for the Phillies offense, hits were few and far between making fans wonder if all the hard work assembling this amazing pitching staff was going to pay off.  If Halladay only allows one run but the offense cannot score any runs, wins will be hard to come by.

Only Ryan Howard and Wilson Valdez got any hits through the first six innings.  The Valdez hit was a double in the third inning, but they were unable to score him.  A bad call at first base where Halladay was called out did not help the situation.

 

 

040111 a.jpg

Also not a huge help were a strange variety of Phillies mistakes.  Ben Francisco missed a fly ball in right early in the game, prompting chants of, “Bring back Werth!” from the crowd.  Valdez let a ball slip right between his legs and Shane Victorino got caught stealing.  Later, poor Carlos Ruiz took a bouncing relay to the plate in what looks like an uncomfortable position:

 

 

040111 b.jpg

None of this was good news for the Phillies.  But in the seventh, Myers started to tire and the Phils finally manufactured a few runs.  By the ninth inning, down 4-2, the Phillies probably started to imagine the backlash if they were to lose on Opening Day after Halladay pitched a great game.  Suddenly, the hits started coming.

Jimmy Rollins started off the inning with a single to inspire the team.  Howard, Francisco and Ruiz followed suit.  The hit for Francisco was especially huge as it redeemed him from the previous error in the eyes of the crowd.

Valdez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.  Visions of the 20 double plays Valdez hit into last year began to haunt the crowd who held their collective breath.  But perhaps the DP curse is over, because Valdez nailed and RBI single to tie the game.

All the Phillies needed now was a hit or a sac fly from John Mayberry Jr.  With his father, former major leaguer John Mayberry Sr., and mother looking on, Mayberry Jr. smashed a 2-2 fastball to center field, over the head of former Phillie Michael Bourn.  Francisco scored and Mayberry had his first major league walk-off hit in his first game ever as an Opening Day roster player.

The walk-off win was the first on Opening Day since May 6, 1974, when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run home run against Tug McGraw to beat the Mets at Veterans Stadium.  But with the high expectations for this 2011 team, this walk-off victory will go down as one of the most memorable in Phillies history.

The stunned Astros team will probably have nightmare’s tonight knowing they face Cliff Lee on Saturday.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from Opening Day.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

The Final Decisions Before Opening Day

After a few additions and subtractions, the Phillies Opening Day roster is set.

#

Pitchers

#

Infielders

55

Danys Baez

6

Ryan Howard

58

Antonio Bastardo

19

Michael Martinez

56

Joe Blanton

60

Pete Orr

52

Jose Contreras

27

Placido Polanco

34

Roy Halladay

11

Jimmy Rollins

35

Cole Hamels

21

Wilson Valdez

57

David Herndon

#

Outfielders

38

Kyle Kendrick

10

Ben Francisco

33

Cliff Lee

7

Ross Gload

46

Ryan Madson

29

Raul Ibanez

44

Roy Oswalt

15

John Mayberry

16

J.C. Romero

8

Shane Victorino

#

Catchers

#

Catchers

51

Carlos Ruiz

23

Brian Schneider

 

Most notable, Luis Castillo was released yesterday.  After showing up two days late for a very short try-out, the odds of him making the team seemed slim.  And although he did get on base quite a bit, the players already in camp were just as good and much better defensively.

So Wilson Valdez will start at second base in place of Chase Utley with Michael Martinez (photo), who also made the roster, helping out.  Pete Orr, who smashed a triple and showed off his speed on the base path yesterday, also made the roster.  Delwyn Young was sent to the minors.

As for the bullpen, the injury to Brad Lidge’s shoulder left a spot open which will be filled by David Herndon who beat out Michael Stutes for the last roster spot.  Jose Contreras will close for Lidge, who may be out until May or June.

Yesterday’s final exhibition game was a tad sleepy, but having players wandering around the ballpark was neat.  Here is hoping the Phillies make this a new, year-round tradition for the On-Deck series in the future.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the 3/30/11 On-Deck game with the Pirates.

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